'POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold': Morgan Spurlock's latest commercial success
A movie review of "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," Morgan Spurlock's confident and funny documentary that shows that "everyone is trying to sell you something."
Special to The Seattle Times
'POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,' a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, from a screenplay by Spurlock and Jeremy Chilnick. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual material. Guild 45th.
A documentary about product placement? From Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar-nominated creator of "Super Size Me"?
What exactly is this thing, "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"? Why the POM? Why the Wonderful? All questions will be answered if/when you see the movie, if not quite in the way you may have anticipated.
Whatever form you thought Spurlock's latest project would take, think again. Forget about "greatest." But this could be the most self-referential movie ever: literally a 90-minute narrative about its own creation.
Instead of taking the standard documentary approach — which no doubt would have doted on anecdotes about "E.T." boosting sales of Reese's Pieces and similar marketing triumphs — Spurlock takes us through the process of board meetings and sales pitches that prove beyond much doubt that "everyone is trying to sell you something."
Spurlock, who does most of the pitching, takes us to Times Square, where every building seems plastered with skyscraper-high posters of Broadway shows. It's an environment built entirely on advertising that's both blatant and subliminal.
The wittiest touches are almost throwaways. In a corner of the screen, buried under demonstrations of television clutter, there's a commercial for the 6 ½-year-anniversary DVD of "Super Size Me." Spurlock is shameless, and he revels in his own "integrity for sale."
He also manages to put together a movie, seemingly against all odds, that has been completely financed through product placements on pizza boxes, deodorant sticks and bottles of pomegranate juice (that's where the POM came from).
Among the experts he interviews: Quentin Tarantino; Donald Trump; Noam Chomsky; movie directors Peter Berg and Brett Ratner; and Ralph Nader, who worries that Spurlock can't avoid selling out.
Not to worry. Spurlock claims he has artistic control of the final cut, despite what looks like major contractual hurdles. As confident, unstoppable and funny as his film, Spurlock takes them all in stride.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org